Bullets XC take sixth at championship meet, Junior Ben Taber clocks 25:32 to earn First Team All-Centennial Conference honors
By Katie Burns, Contributing Writer
On Saturday Oct. 31, the Gettysburg Bullets cross country teams competed in their Centennial Conferences Championship meet. The competition was held on the Johns Hopkins University course. In a highly competitive race both the men’s and women’s teams took sixth place overall.
Each team ran twelve runners in the varsity races. The remaining members of the teams competed in a mixed open race. The course consisted of a 2k grass loop on which the men ran an 8k race and the women ran a 6k.
The women’s race was won by Johns Hopkins University with nineteen points. The Gettysburg women earned sixth place with 165 points. They competed closely with the teams from Muhlenberg College, who came in fifth with 127 points, and Swarthmore College, who finished fourth with 95 points.
Victory in the men’s race was taken by Haverford College with twenty-five points. The Gettysburg men finished sixth with 147 points and were competitive with Muhlenberg College, who earned fifth place with 139 points, and Swarthmore College, who took fourth place with 110 points.
The boys’ squad was led by junior Ben Taber who came in sixth place with a season best of 25:32.2. With this place he made First Team All-Centennial Conference. This is made up of the top seven finishers in the conference meet. Prior to Taber the last Gettysburg runner to achieve this was Brenden Clark of the class of ’99 who made it in 1998.
When asked about the race Taber said, “As a team I was really proud of our effort and the way everyone left it all out on the course despite us not really having the race we thought we could have as a team. We didn’t get the result we wanted or that we are capable of, but I am confident that we will rebound at regionals and show our true capabilities as a team. As an individual I couldn’t be happier with my race. Coach Shenk had given me a lot of encouragement that I could run with anyone in the conference, and had supported me when I wasn’t racing very well earlier in the season, so it felt fantastic to vindicate his belief in me and run to my full potential.”
Many of the men gave great performances, including sophomore Harry Thoman who ran his season best in the open race.
On the women’s side Elizabeth Hilfrank, a sophomore, came in first on the team placing twenty-fourth overall with a time of 23:05.3.
Hilfrank said, “I think the team performed well as a whole. We had some season best performances and everyone came ready to race. The girls have been working hard all season and proved that on Saturday.”
Other strong performances on the women’s side were had by junior Laura Duquette and seniors Gwen Porter, Casey Uhrich, Abby Bull, and Ellie Soule who all ran their season bests.
For most of the team the conference meet was the last race of the season, and for many of the seniors it was the end of their cross country careers.
Casey Uhrich, a senior on the team, spoke of her mixed feelings regarding the end of the season. Uhrich said, “I’m so proud of all of my teammates. We’ve all trained so hard these past few months and it definitely paid off. It’s sad to think that was the end of my collegiate cross country career, but I’m happy to have ended it running alongside some of my best friends.”
Seven runners and three alternates for each team will be continuing to train for the NCAA Division III Mideast Regionals competition which will take place on Nov. 14 at Big Spring High School. Both teams hope to better their placement and expect strong performances at Regionals.